Prosecution rests in trial of reputed mob soldier

Posted: May 21, 2014

Prosecutors in the murder trial of Anthony Nicodemo, who is accused gunning down Gino DiPietro on a South Philadelphia street in 2012, rested Monday after presenting forensic evidence that they say links the reputed mob soldier to the brazen daylight killing.

The first expert called by Assistant District Attorney Brian Zarallo was Philadelphia police forensic scientist Lissette Vega.

Vega said Nicodemo's DNA was found on a soda bottle inside his 2011 black Honda Pilot, which was used by DiPietro's assailants in a drive-by shooting on South Iseminger Street about 2:55 p.m. Dec. 12, 2012.

A police fingerprint specialist, Scott Copeland, said fingerprints from a soda bottle and the Honda's center console matched Nicodemo's. Both pieces of evidence place the 42-year-old defendant inside the murder vehicle.

Last week, Zarallo told jurors that evidence would show that DiPietro, 50, was gunned down by an accomplice who was still at large. Nicodemo's job, Zarallo said, had been to help the gunman escape and get rid of the murder weapon.

Zarallo had said the evidence would be sufficient to convict Nicodemo of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

Jurors last week saw video from security cameras showing a 2011 black Honda Pilot casing the area where DiPietro was killed in the hours before the killing and the moments afterward.

On Monday, Police Officer Robert Stott, a firearms specialist, testified that bullet specimens recovered from DiPietro's body were from a .357 Magnum found wrapped in clothing and stashed in the back of the driver's seat.

DiPietro, a convicted drug dealer, was shot to death Dec. 12, 2012, as he stood next to his gold Mazda pickup trick, parked near his home.

A postal worker testified last week that he saw a masked man standing over a man's body near a gold pickup truck and firing gunshots into him.

Nicodemo's lawyers are expected to begin presenting their defense Tuesday.

In his opening last week, defense attorney Brian J. McMonagle said Nicodemo had nothing to do with the shooting: The defendant was carjacked by a masked man who, unbeknownst to him, stashed the revolver in the SUV, then jumped out and ran.

vclark@phillynews.com

215-854-5717

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